John Denton's Knights Insider: It's Time for Boston College

Sept. 9, 2011

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By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Chances like this come along so infrequently during a football season - a national television stage, a respected foe from a BCS-affiliated league and a likely raucous sellout home crowd - that UCF is looking at Saturday night's showdown against Boston College as a tremendous opportunity.

And the Knights are hoping to use this perfect storm, if you well, to announce themselves to the nation as big-time players in the college football world.

A defeat of Boston College Saturday at 8 p.m. would not only serve as arguably the biggest home victory in the five-year history at Bright House Networks Stadium, but it would also serve notice that UCF has another special season in the works. The Knights were shockingly left out of the preseason national rankings after climbing to as high as No. 20 last season and this is their chance to shove their way back into the national conversation.

``Every time you play an out of conference game against a big-name team like Boston College it's a chance to show what our program can do,'' UCF senior linebacker Josh Linam said. ``We feel like we can play with anybody. This is our next chance to show that. We're trying to go 2-0.''

One sign of the progress that UCF has made and the respect that the football program is getting now is a subtle change in the lead-up to this game. Unlike in years past against BCS schools, the Knights are actually favored and the pick of many to roll, especially because of the diminished state of Boston College's team with injuries at running back and wide receiver.

Like last December when UCF topped Georgia 10-6 in the Liberty Bowl, UCF head coach George O'Leary has preached to his team that it shouldn't fear playing a school from a BCS-affiliated conference. O'Leary stressed that UCF isn't inferior in any aspect and should head into the game fully expecting to come out victorious.

``We're a Division I school just like they are and we need to go out and do what we're supposed to do,'' O'Leary said. ``I don't get involved at all with that whole `BCS school and non-BCS school.' Everybody says that they're a big team, but we're the second biggest school in the country. We just haven't matured as much as they have, but we have confidence heading into the game.''

UCF (1-0) is coming off a 62-0 throttling of Charleston Southern last week, but fully aware that its level of play will have to climb against the Eagles (0-1). Boston College lost 24-17 to Northwestern last week, a game that was played without ACC Preseason Player of the Year Montel Harris (knee surgery) and one that cost it star wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah (season-ending knee injury). Harris has since been ruled out of Saturday's game and Boston College coach Frank Spaziani knows that his team has its work cut out against UCF.

``Week two finds us on the road for the first time this year in a hostile environment obviously down in Orlando against, on top of that, a very good football team, very well coached, and is coming off a spectacular year and a big win in their opening game,'' Spaziani said. ``So, we will have our hands full.''

That figures to be the case with the emergence of UCF quarterback Jeff Godfrey and a dominant UCF running game featuring three stellar backs. Godfrey ran for three touchdowns last week, helping the Knights set a new school record for rushing touchdowns in a game with eight. Tailbacks Ronnie Weaver, Latavius Murray and Brynn Harvey showed their vast potential last Saturday night, and the trio will continue to be rotated this Saturday night to keep fresh legs on the field for the Knights.

It was a year ago this week that Godfrey burst on the scene at UCF and vaulted himself into a position to become the face of the program. With the Knights trailing NC State 28-7, Godfrey - then a true freshman - entered the game and breathed life into UCF's offense with two rushing touchdowns. He drove UCF into the red zone for a potential tying score, but a fumble by wide receiver Quincy McDuffie ended the rally.

Unbowed, Godfrey took control of the UCF offense and never looked back from that moment. All he's done since then is win 11 of his 13 starts and help UCF author the finest season in school history in 2010.

Still just a sophomore, Godfrey knows that chances like this - ones where the Knights can beat a respected team on national TV in front of the home crowd - doesn't come along too often. So he's eager for his Knights to seize the moment and prove to the football world that UCF can play with any team.

``We have a good chance to prove ourselves, but we have to go out there and do our assignments on both sides of the ball to win the game,'' Godfrey said. ``Boston College is a very good team, but if we go out there and play like it's our last game, I really think we'll win.''

John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.